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Medtech company Headway won Pennovation Accelerator’s 2020 virtual pitch day

Pennovation Center's third accelerator ended with two startups winning prizes, including one that seeks to improve the way surgeons communicate with each other during minimally invasive surgery.

Pennovation Accelerator 2020's overall winners, Headway cofounders (L to R) Alex Qian Wan, Laura Ceccacci, Jonah Arnheim, Julia Lin. (Courtesy photo)

Pennovation Center’s 2020 accelerator ended on July 16 with a virtual version of its Pitch Day event. Now in its third year, the six-week program supports 10 startups with business development and networking.

On Pitch Day, each startup gave up a five-minute pitch in front of 80 virtual attendees and a panel of three judges: Dr. Brandi Baldwin, founder and CEO of Millennial Ventures Holdings; Holly Flanagan, managing director at Gabriel Investments; and Rick Genzer, investment director at Ben Franklin Technology Partners.

Medtech company Headway was the overall winner for its work in using technology — a hands-free pointer — to improve the way surgeons communicate with one another during minimally invasive surgery. Its prize consists of $5,000 in cash, a six-month membership to the Pennovation Center and an accounting startup package sponsored by Penn Center for Innovation Ventures partner Stephano Slack.

The Headway team is made up of four cofounders: CEO Julia Lin, mechanical engineer and product designer; Laura Ceccacci, medical device strategist; Jonah Arnheim, mechanical engineer; and Alex Qian Wan, UI/UX designer.

SOLUtion Medical won the best pitch award. The company cofounded by CEO Julia Anthony and CSO Jonathan Kiel created a simplified delivery system to ease the process of patients administering their own medicine.

Julia Anthony presents SOLUtion Medical at Pennovation Accelerator’s 2020 Pitch Day. (Courtesy image)

Here are the other companies that completed the accelerator, with descriptions adapted from Pennovation:

  • Buoyant — A telemedicine practice dedicated to helping people with migraines get continuous and personalized care
  • Green Ablutions — A hair care product company on a mission to prove less plastic is fantastic with zero-waste haircare bars
  • MielBar — A hair care company committed to simplifying care for curly or wavy hair using all natural ingredients
  • MyGrow Design — A materials company developing innovative biomaterial-based products and ecological solutions
  • Pawsitive — An app that helps you raise a healthy and happy dog
  • Percepta — Software that detects shoplifting in retail stores while mitigating racial, gender and age biases
  • Pression — A human-performance technology company focused on helping athletes improve performance
  • Stealth.ifyAn app that uses game-like features to incentivize social distancing

Because of the changes COVID-19 has forced upon professional industries, other accelerators have shifted to virtual experiences in order to adapt to a changing professional world. Hear from University City Science Center’s inaugural Launch Lane startups in a Liz Brownrun interview series about how they’ve adapted in the past few months, professionally and personally.

Watch the series Michael Butler is a 2020-2022 corps member for Report for America, an initiative of The Groundtruth Project that pairs young journalists with local newsrooms. This position is supported by the Lenfest Institute for Journalism.
Companies: Pennovation Center / University City Science Center

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